Diary of Lieutenant X (Aime Ernest Motsch)

Friday, August 5, 1898

It is said that the Monterey has brought formal orders to attack. But perhaps the victor and the vanquished would eventually end the fighting and maybe even settle their problem without combat.

There is threat of a typhoon. The strong winds from the west have worsened the situation at sea. We are forced to close all portsides and doors to keep the water from coming in. The defense mounted by the junk boats at the mouth of the Pasig River has failed. We have been enduring these torrential tropical rains for a month now. The Tagals, however, are indifferent to the weather, and continue surrounding Manila and the countryside. What would the Americans do here without them? Sinking a fleet at anchor is certainly only the first step towards the conquest of a country that is bigger than Hongkong or Ireland.

The shots heard on the evening of August 1 and 2 came from the attacks attempted by General Agustin and is units against the Americans in their trenches. Insignificant losses with no decisive results.

Tonight, a dramatic turn of events. We have learned from the consulate that the governor general of the Philippines, General Agustin, has been removed from office. Nothing could be more ridiculous; for the past four days, he has been working secretly at his desk. But what is more revolting is the example set by Madrid, whose policies are an incredible mixture of stupidity, incoherence, inertia and hysterical indecisions.

General Jaudenes y Jaudenes has been appointed governor, with Francisco Rizzo his deputy. This is nothing compared to General Monet’s appointment as chief of defense after deserting his post and his men, a constant subject of severe criticism. Together with his 2,800 men and General Agustin’s family, he found himself surrounded by insurgents since June. Under the pretext of escorting Mrs. Agustin and her five children across the Tagal lines, General Monet and his aide-de-camp abandoned their men. Some say that the true version of the story is that Monet abandoned his troops because he was aware of the implacable hatred of the Tagals. Of all the Spaniards, he is the most hated by the Tagals, having allegedly exerted heavy-handed authority by putting to death thousands of natives, women and children included, during the last repression of the uprising.

In order to promote more confusion, the same newspapers which carried news items regarding Agustin’s downfall have also reprinted an article published in Spain, dated the 21st of July, in which the new governor sings high praises to “the heroism of the Philippine army, its illustrious chief, and the nation.” The appointment orders dated the 24th were evidently pre-empted by the newspaper article.

All these insincere half-truths disgust us. Have people really reached this level? One could almost say that the empty pride of the vanquished found glory in their defeat. There is nothing else left for this nation but to face death.